Courtesy of Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Could Arroyo land with the O's?

An MLB Trade Rumors piece yesterday linked Bronson Arroyo to the Baltimore Orioles. Let’s be clear; Arroyo has been linked with several teams according to the article, including the Birds. So it’s not as if Baltimore is the only market into which he has the opportunity to land. However, the piece also states that Arroyo is looking for a longer term deal than only the two years that the Orioles have presumably discussed with him (through his agent). So what gives? Is Arroyo the starting pitcher for whom the Orioles have been searching? Is that third year negotiable on either side?

I’ll put it this way…if I were Dan Duquette I’d strongly consider giving a pitcher that third year – be it Arroyo or someone else. It appears that there aren’t very many pitchers of substance who are going to be interested in signing for only two guaranteed years (the exception perhaps being A.J. Burnett, if he plays in 2014). I would recommend to Dan Duquette that he get out there and get someone inked to a deal because moving forward names will start going off the board with more fervor and the Orioles could find themselves in a pickle.

But the question is how interested are the Birds in Arroyo? Let’s be clear; he wouldn’t be a pitcher in his prime that would be the final piece to a would-be championship team. However I think he could be a piece that would help the Orioles continually ensure that they’ll be competitive in 2014. What you do when you add a pitcher like Arroyo is to push back your weakest would-be starter. At the moment, the Orioles look to have Chris Tillman, Bud Norris, Miguel Gonzalez, and Wei-Yin Chen penciled in as starters in 2014 (with Tillman perhaps written in ink). So that leaves one slot that in theory could be up for grabs. Perhaps that goes to Zach Britton, Kevin Gausman, or someone else. However whichever one of those would be thought of as the weakest link could find themselves either relegated to the bullpen or in triple-A if someone like Arroyo (or Burnett, Garza, etc) is on the Orioles.

So if Bronson Arroyo or anyone else is balking because they’re not getting a third guaranteed year, I’d say go for it from the Orioles’ standpoint. Perhaps see if the player will accept a club option or something along those lines, but the fact is that the Birds need to make some sort of addition to the starting rotation. Arroyo may be a bit past his prime, but he’s a reliable starter that would provide the Orioles with good innings and quality starts.


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  • Ryne Mehan

    Agreed. Out of all the starting pitchers available Arroyo is clearly the one who makes the most sense to sign. He is more proven than guys like Santana, Garza, and Jimenez and he is clearly an upgrade no matter how you look at it. He also wouldn’t require a lot of years and won’t break the bank.

    Britton is terrible, Gausman maybe could use a little more time in the minor leagues (it would only help him), and like you said, it would push everyone back one slot in the rotation. Their starting five would likely be Tillman, Arroyo, Chen, Gonzalez, and either Gausman or Norris, if Baltimore does choose to keep Gausman on 25 man roster right away.

    I personally feel that if Arroyo is signed then Gausman should start over Norris and the Orioles should slate Bud Norris into the closer role. It may seem a bit preconceived because neither Norris or Gausman has proven to be capable of handling those respective roles YET, but if you look at their talent and view what they bring to the table then it makes a lot of sense. Gausman is going to be a starter for a long time, he clearly has a much higher ceiling than Norris. It makes sense to start Gausman regardless of inexperience because he does have the talent and the stuff to do so. There were also two games last season where Norris was forced to pick in extra innings last year. He ended up getting the losses in both of them but one was because the umpire started knit picking the strike zone in the second contest (the Tampa Bay game that went twenty or so innings) which forced Norris to throw pitches right down the heart of the plate and in the other game Arizona had already gained the confidence and momentum to win because they rallied against Johnson…once again…

    The thing I like about Norris closing is that he is aggressive and will throw strikes, unlike Blow Johnson last year, and when I saw how angry Bud was at himself for giving up the winning runs, despite doing a very job against Tampa Bay, it showed just how badly he wants to win, and that’s the attitude a closer needs to have. You have a game that went nearly twenty innings and all everyone’s body language is basically saying is “Thank God, the game is over” and in the camera you were able to see Norris slamming his glove repeatedly in the dugout and yelling, all while players were heading to the locker rooms. That is the kind of intensity and passion the Baltimore needs, which is why I was disappointed to see the Balfour deal fall through and why I was glad to see Johnson gone. Going back to Norris, hitters won’t have the chance to feel comfortable against him because he attacks the strike zone right away, so when hitters get behind in the count they will be much new prone to chasing, and unlike Hunter or Matusz, Bud can get both sides of the plate out.

    When I think of a closer and the main criteria for one I think of guys who are aggressive, guys who aren’t intimidated, guys who want the moment, and most importantly guys that make it as quick and painless as possible. Johnson didn’t do one of those things last season, in Norris’ two relief stints alone he did most of that.

    I know I get a little off track some times, to me it’s all related and one move impacts everything. Signing Arroyo is the best move the Os can realistically make right now. It frees up a spot for Gausman, while putting as little pressure on him as possible, gives them a closer while not losing Hunter or O’Day or Matusz in the bridge innings, and is still a very efficient move financially. If Baltimore doesn’t make this move, or a move very similar, then I think everyone can officially say that the people in charge don’t care about winning.

    • Domenic Vadala

      I think you’re mistaking stoicism for a lack of caring or passion. Keep in mind that baseball is a stoic game, and in fact it’s guys like Balfour who in theory break unwritten codes of the game by showing their feelings on their sleeves. Personally I don’t think that Norris shows people up by any means, but this is a sport where self-control needs to reign supreme.
      I don’t see Norris being the closer on this team, it’s going to be either Tommy Hunter or someone from outside the organization. In Norris you have a guy that attacks the strike zone but who’s stuff probably isn’t quite as overpowering enough to close out games. He puts a lot of balls into play, which is not what you want from a starter. Hunter gives up the occasional dinger, but he also strikes a lot of guys out. As for Kevin Gausman, it really matters how he performs in spring training (the same being true with Zach Britton). If he’s crisp, then he’ll be considered for the rotation. If not, I suspect he’ll end up in Norfolk. Ultimately he needs to pitch innings as opposed to sitting in the bulllpen, so I suspect that the rotation in Baltimore or Norfolk is where he’ll end up. Thanks for reading!